Mission Statement

The Orient-Institut Beirut (OIB) is an academic research institute under the umbrella of the Max Weber Foundation in Bonn which guarantees the academic freedom of its researchers. The OIB is generously funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. It encourages interdisciplinary research on the Middle East and North Africa from Late Antiquity to the present.

Our research community comprises long-term research associates, short-term visiting fellows (stipendiary and non-stipendiary) and interns from Germany and all over the world. OIB researchers combine disciplinary, interdisciplinary and area-studies approaches in the humanities and social sciences, including Islamic and Arabic studies, philology and literature, philosophy, religious studies, theology, material culture, art and architecture, history, cultural and social anthropology, law and critical legal studies, sociology, psychology, geography, political science and gender studies.

In all we aspire to build a theoretically sophisticated, methodologically rigorous and empirically rich programme of studies, including colloquia, panel discussions, book launches, literary readings, exhibitions, international conferences and summer academies.

Our reference library offers an immersive study experience in one of our user-friendly reading rooms. The extensive holdings in our stacks facilitate comprehensive primary and secondary research for registered readers. Our two blind-peer reviewed, open-access publication series, Beiruter Texte und Studien and Bibliotheca Islamica, attract cutting-edge scholarship, essential text editions and translations. The OIB also offers venues for up-to-date news and background analysis, and for occasional papers in German, Arabic, English and French.

The OIB facilitates scientific debates on controversial issues related to our fields of scholarly expertise. We invite guests and partners based on academic merit and excellence.

The OIB cooperates with cognate partners in the region and worldwide. As a community of scholars, we uphold the values of equal opportunity and social justice, and seek to overcome all forms of discrimination. The OIB is committed to offering a respectful and collegial working environment where critical inquiry can flourish and everybody is welcome.

The Max Weber Foundation is a family-friendly employer that attaches particular importance to the compatibility of work and family. You can find initial information on the living and working conditions at the OIB on our website. Concurrently, we implement equality policy goals and objectives by seeking to redress existing imbalances when recruiting for positions.




Founded in 1961, the Orient-Institut Beirut (OIB) was initially established as a base of German Oriental Studies abroad by the German Oriental Society (Deutsche Morgenländische Gesellschaft), an academic association founded in 1845 to promote the study of the languages and cultures of the “Orient”. In 1963, the institute gained the legal recognition of the Lebanese government and moved to its present premises in the former Villa Maud Farajallah in the quarter of Zokak al-Blat, near the downtown area of Beirut.

The institute’s funding was mainly provided by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and by generous grants from other sponsors, most notably the Fritz Thyssen Foundation, the Volkswagen Foundation and the German Research Association (DFG).

The OIB was designed to enhance German research links throughout the region and came to benefit from Lebanon’s unique advantages as an intellectual center and barometer of the contemporary Arab world.

Being the only German research center devoted to Arabic and Islamic Studies and based in the Middle East, the Orient-Institute helped train generations of German scholars specializing in the region. Academic activities at the institute continued even during the most turbulent periods of Lebanese history, although in 1987 the German staff had to be temporarily evacuated to Istanbul. In 1994, the directorate and parts of the research staff returned to Beirut, but as a result of the evacuation the institute developed de facto into a bi-local entity, with branches in both Istanbul (OII) and Beirut (OIB). In 2003 the institute joined the Foundation German Humanities Institutes Abroad (since 2012: Max Weber Foundation – International Humanities), a non-profit foundation established by German Federal Law in 2002 and funded by the Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) as an umbrella organization for the currently eleven German research centers in the Humanities located outside the Federal Republic. In 2009 the Orient-Institut Istanbul became an independent research center, but it continues to cooperate with the OIB as part of the Max Weber Foundation. Since 2010, the OIB has also maintained an office in Cairo.